Saturday, May 29, 2010

still stormy after all these years

I have a question for the one that drew me so frail and fragile.

It’s just that I don’t know if I’ve the right to ask.

Why for, these weak arms?

Why for, this heart as soft as a date,

In this chest as brittle as chalk?

Why for this voice so shaky, these limbs so shaky,

This mind, this damned and blessed mind, so shaky?

Why for these eyes so deep, deep as the very middle

Of the lake?

Why for this uselessly quickened stride, as if

I always have somewhere to be?

Why for, this trembling little-girl’s mouth

I am not quick to cry any more

But I do wonder

Why for am I so stormy still?

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Fountain

Here, there’s the place where she drowned in the fountain; remember the thrashing display? Caught like a fish in a net by her gauze and her lace, the humidity of the long, long day

No, there was no time for soliloquizing or accounting for all of her findings. Only a gasp, as of a thing returned to sea, finally

Surrounded by fat coi placidly gazing at her plight, her hair swum in the water til day became night, and on the inevitable next morning

How peculiar the townfolk found it to see nothing but coins, a silver heap, all pressed with the countenances of gardenias

And an ethereal hum filled the clean air of the coast.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

a single mosquito swarms, beyond the window it rains; today resembles a crazed young lady. weeping and spinning her skirts,

drenched by the confounding sky, anticipating thunder, lightning, garnets---

her body aches for a hot bath, she bleeds for a distant dream and wraps herself in silken things that feel to her like wings.

think of me, think of kissing me, she said. we are still the age of the enchanted. it is the may of our days.

Monday, May 24, 2010

the old fountaingrove winery

Hear those stinging nettles, they're arresting my legs.
Some caw or call arises from across unfamiliar terrain. And
I'd really like to be every thing in this old place,
But I know I'm not.

Sometimes my mind slips backward into fog
And I feel a dreamy half-sleep coming along.
But here awake, just watching the roots entangled,
The goings-on, I am frailty present.

And if I have briefly wondered for a moment
If I had a prayer,
I have remembered all those hundred nights
I leaned on--

And I do, despite all dense brush, communicate my song
Be it brazen or direct
I just keep singing all day long.

Because I'll never be defeated by those hindered by trespassing signs.
Those who idolize restraint as if it's the only way to be strong,

When there is licorice to pick like moss and chew
Who would deny such a thing; not I.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Feeling Very Faint

A wrung teabag is how I feel with an afgan on my lap.

Women in lace contemplate the strengths and flaws of demure and attack.

Last night in so much chiffon I could have caught a thousand minnows,

Little silver darting elusive desires.

Bent over a purpling rose today I wondered where my chaise lounge was.

Evidently someone forgot to bury it with me in my tomb.

Forgot also to bury with me the rose oil when I died;

A fatal combination of the Sweat and the Rheum.

The Sweat and The Rheum and both brought upon by you.

Five hundred years ago I broke your window with my shoe,

Yelling ‘You would, Wouldn’t you, how very like you! You would.”

As I threw it high and forcefully to prove to you I could.

And my heels were of that curved and pointed sort.

The shoe flew through your damned room and pierced and tore that dread painting apart;

The one I never liked, oil landscape of someone leaving

Tuscany with their back turned.

Deeper now my eyes seem to myself than they have ever been.

Longer and older my fingers, yet less explicable my tongue.

Craving just a night of sleep, I only now begin to think of warmth

Wrapped around my bones but cannot lose myself to it.

And the things my hands have seen know but never speak,

Except the cut and balmy knuckle from my ill advised knife-play

I sat and swung my feet and sucked the blood away, and sucked

More blood away, and could have sucked the blood all day, because

My condition was an ill-kept secret.

I was feeling very faint. It caused me to sigh for the chaise lounge,

To bend over the rose.

It caused my eyes to sink further; submerged river stones.

And while strong whisky is for women and can also be for men,

And long blades are for women and can be for men too,

The chiffon with its secret strength of irridescent net,

The rose over which I bent, my knuckle bloody rent,

Belong only to me, just me, feeling very faint.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Real Real Fast

Sometimes on the street a neighbor says

Ain’t you pretty and

How old are you honey?

And I say twenty-one and smile

In a hip-shaking way and we

Both laugh.

They say a girl like you is too pretty

To be wearin’ that frown

If my wound had been touched that day

And I smile with all my teeth and

Walk past the church on the way home.

The truth though is I’m just as much twenty-one

As I am a mathemetician

And that’s not at all.

I mean not at all.

The truth is my soul is an old chicken in a dirt yard

Can’t fly, just frets and pecks about all day long.

The things I loathe are chicken-wire, scary loud noises,

When things turn to mystery and I can’t know what’s

Behind it all or where it all goes

The truth is, a bird that can’t fly is being robbed blind

Unless it can run real real fast.

I feel like the trampled pink plumerias browning on the shaded path to the carriage house. I can't believe that for the first time one tear has just slid from my left eye behind my sunglasses, down my face, and right toward my heart. I had not been proclaiming this a crying matter. This fly of a tear. Irritating me -- stop stop stop-- I say before it's too late. But I don't brush it away because I have never known a single heart tear before, and because of that I know it's something sacred. I let my skin and my grey sweater soak it up. It jiggles my heart and I scold myself.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

listening to: the national 'high violet'

my body frustrates me and disagrees we just don’t agree

in the day time it wants sleep during the night it wants to run

it wants to run around in circles swinging its curls

drown in its thoughts swing its arms against the white walls

i take off all my clothes climb into bed wonder why’ve you

gotta rebel?

it’s not a loud mind it’s the kind of mind that would whisper

in your ear all through the service

you can’t shut it up

i guess it makes no difference

tomorrow’s tomorrow

today was today and i’m in bed again.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

May 15th

At the garden every thing was


roses innumerable regal impossible

With vibrant colors and vibrant names

And vibrantly dressed admirers circling

So benign and contented

I came to pray on the day of my

Lady Saint

For protection and for strength

Made a shrine beneath the

Sufficiently hidden rose pink blooms

A tangerine to please her sight

A mirror to catch the sunlight

Incense of pine and in a perfume bottle

My own blood drawn by my long knife

The bottle was a gift from my grandmother

And the blood was just the same

I clutched her rosary and my medallion

And felt that I was begging

May 17th

Covered in last night’s mosquitos’ red welts

I am eyeing silk orchids on the dresser-top.

Bathed of last night’s red earth hammock sleep

I find myself in Wedgwood blue sheets

Itching and scratching

I know not who I am talking to

But hear my grandmother’s clacks on the hardwood

her voice, “It’s raining again,”

An ash colored kitten pounces on my gliding feet

Beneath the covers

With wide marine-glass eyes

The song I sung today is wrapping up

A ball of yarn

The long drive south from pine country

To the cypress trees and ocean fog

I smelled the fresh salt water stepping out of my car

And knew that I was there, here, the place which

Cools my seething brain

Perhaps to fall asleep with the light still on

The year I’ve seen has been a storm

And I have always been a shaky bloom

All treat me with delicate care, understanding

As they do the unspoken reasons behind my rheum

Friday, May 14, 2010

grinding my ground

i'm not looking i'm
soft shoeing i'm
twisting i'm grinding i'm
bare footing
i'm ground grinding i'm

do you listen to enough soul?

do you, do you really
listen to enough soul?

you know if you knew you'd
say yes just like that

i'm not thinking i'm
in motion i'm summer coming
i'm young bending i'm praying

and i really am,

i pray to the saint of the
burnt hearted

i pray to the saint of the
tender souled

and i grind my ground

and i'm sure not gonna say sorry when
i'm not sorry

but i'm gonna say it's all right
because it's all right

and i'm gonna grind my ground.

consider this a song
a soul song
my soul song

not sorry song
maybe you haven't known me long

but this one
is irrepressibly
crookedly and directly


i know who i take my cues from.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Ferris Wheel and the Snake

Once she was

(The overwhelming confusion)

A child lost on the boardwalk

Now some days she feels

In every way a ferris wheel.

Same highs, same lows

Same fears even though

She always knows

The creaking ceases

The swinging doesn’t kill her

And the man pulls the break.

Knowing herself to be green

She finds she is a foolish thing

And embroiled in a vicious civil war with herself

Neither side has any artillery worth noting.

So when given the chance she danced with the snake

And it coiled cool and trusting ‘round her wrist.

And when given the chance she will lay it all down

And bare her breast to weightlessness.

grandpa (silvio) louis (batastini) grandma cathy (caterina pomatto batastini)

sophie, ernestine, joe

the dirt and sand of santa barbara runs in my Italian blood.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

achy yearn

I know what I cannot know and still
Achy yearn to know it

My fingers itch to touch sometimes
Or desire makes dust of my lust

Lust is candy to this lady
I very rarely crave it

Desire is calla lilies filling my eyes
With tears and touching my heart

With a pain incommunicable
Sometimes I feel the brush of something holy

Desire is the immaterial involuntary
Call for love

The ache is the scruff-raising wait
For a possible response

Sunday, May 2, 2010

pseudo haiku IV

In the Alta Bates E.R. the seats are the color of wet dolphin:
Next to me smeared with (recent? aged?) blood.
My favorite author Marion came here to die.
My grandfather was a surgeon and a president of this hospital.
And that is what it means to live in Berkeley.

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